Renting a car this summer? Here are some things to think about before purchasing insurance from a rental company.
If you’re planning on taking a road trip or even traveling after touching down at an airport, your options for car rentals include insurance decisions. But too often certain coverages from a rental company overlap your regular car insurance policy. Before you sign up for extra protections, it’s a good idea to check in with your insurer to see exactly what’s covered before you rent. Here are some key items to consider.
1. Are You Covered for Collision or Comprehensive?
Comprehensive coverage, which is the provision for most other damages besides a collision should cover a rental car if it’s part of your policy. This covers incidents like vandalism, fire, theft, damage from animals, and more. However, some drivers choose to drop these coverages to cut costs on a policy, so it’s best to make sure you include this coverage if you’d like it to lower your risk on a rental car.
2. What Is Your Liability Coverage?
When you rent a car, the rental company is legally required to provide basic liability coverage. Since it will typically be the bare minimum of what the renting state requires, you will probably not be fully covered in the event of an accident. However, your own auto coverage will most likely provide an adequate amount of liability if you’ve opted for a larger amount. If you rent often but do not drive, the Insurance Information Institute shares that you have the option to purchase a non-owner liability policy which “can provide the additional liability needed.”
3. What is Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Rental companies usually offer something called “Personal Accident Insurance,” which covers medical expenses for you and your passengers. When you purchase an auto insurance policy, this is called PIP. In most cases, your PIP coverage will be enough to ensure your risk when you’re renting, however, it’s a good idea to check the limits of your current auto insurance to make sure.
4. Do You Have Homeowner’s Insurance?
It may seem odd to bring this into the discussion when it comes to renting a car, however, theft of items from a rental may be covered by a homeowner’s or renters policy. If not, rental car companies offer “Personal Effects Coverage,” which will protect you against this kind of incident.
5. Do You Have Loss of Use Coverage?
If you are involved in an at-fault accident in a rental car, your policy may cover a portion of the loss of use while the vehicle is being repaired. Much like if the same happened and you were driving your own car, this is covered under the rental reimbursement section of an auto policy with most carriers.
If you have adequate coverage with your auto insurance policy for liability, collision, and comprehensive, you probably don’t need extra insurance from a rental car company as long as you are using the car for recreation and not business. Talk with your auto insurance agent to make sure your coverage is adequate to handle any damage to a rental. Peer to peer or ride-sharing services have widely varying coverage that can be bundled into a membership fee so read the fine print and consult your agent with questions. Once you know what protection you have, you can make an informed decision if you want to add any protections from the rental company. Whatever you choose, drive safely and enjoy the road.